Corporate behemoth Big Blue has long since established itself as a leading sponsor of the open source community, regularly making significant contributions of software, money, and human capital. Yet even in light of its already rampant activity over the past few years, 2005 is already proving to be particularly impressive in terms of the ninety-four year old company's almost weekly announcements of various new open source committments. Two of the most recent donations have come in the form of thirty software projects and the release of 500 patents for open source use.
The Software Projects
Donated to the popular Sourceforge.net collaborative development site, the software projects encompass an eclectic array of purposes, including Linux drivers, network simulators, and bioinformatic and developer tools. At press time only a partial listing of the projects was available, however this should be suffice to give one a taste of what's been made available.
ACP Modem (Mwave) Driver for Linux - http://sf.net/projects/acpmodem/
The Mwave Linux driver supports software-based telephony on the Linux operating system.
BlueHoc: Bluetooth ad-hoc network simulator - http://sf.net/projects/bluehoc/
BlueHoc is a network simulator that helps developers evaluate Bluetooth-enabled devices under a variety of networking scenarios.
Dynamic Probe Class Library - http://sf.net/projects/dpcl/
The Dynamic Probe Class Library is a C++ class library used by developers to generate dynamic code used for monitoring an application's execution.
Dynamic Probes - http://sf.net/projects/dprobes/
Dynamic Probes is a Linux-based software debugger.
International Components for Unicode (ICU) Libraries - http://sf.net/projects/icu/
The ICU libraries are a set of C++ and Java libraries offering mature Unicode support for a variety of platforms, supporting the latest Unicode standard.
Java POS Config Loader - http://sf.net/projects/jposloader/
The JavaPOS Config Loader is a configuration manager for the Java Point of Sale platform.
Jikes Compiler for the Java Language - http://sf.net/projects/jikes/
Jikes is an open source Java compiler available on both the Windows and Unix platforms.
Jikes RVM - http://sf.net/projects/jikesrvm/
The Jikes Research Virtual Machine is useful for executing Java programs created with the intent of researching virtual machine design concepts.
Journaled File System - http://sf.net/projects/jfs/
A Journaled File System is optimized for use in a high-performance environment, and is capable of quickly recovering in the case of a system crash.
LSID (Life Science Identifier) - http://sf.net/projects/lsid/
The LSID is a protocol for detecting and assembling bioinformatic data located across a network.
LTC Linux Kernel Performance Project - http://sf.net/projects/linuxperf/
The LTC Linux Kernel Performance Project intends to create tools for reviewing and improving Linux kernel performance.
Memory Expansion Technology (MXT) Linux Support Patch - http://sf.net/projects/mxt/
MXT is a hardware-based technology for compressing RAM, thereby increasing the amount of RAM available to a system. This patch provides support for MXT when used in conjunction with Linux kernel 2.4 and greater.
OpenCryptoki Linux drivers - http://sf.net/projects/opencryptoki/
The Public-key Cryptography Standards provide a set of standards for public key cryptography, with standard #11 defining a technology-independent API for smart cards and PCMCIA cards, dubbed Cryptoki. This project provides Linux support for PKCS#11.
OpenSSH on AIX - http://sf.net/projects/openssh-aix/
The OpenSSH on AIX project offers installation packages supporting OpenSSH on the AIX operating system.
Standards Based Linux Instrumentation (SBLIM) - http://sf.net/projects/sblim/
The SBLIM project provides enhanced capabilities for managing Linux over a network by incorporating support for the Web-based Enterprise Management (WBEM) Initiative.
Java Web Services Description Toolkit (JWSDLTCK) - http://sf.net/projects/jwsdltck/
The JWSDL Toolkit aids in the implementation of the Java API's for Web Services Description Language documents. This specification was developed by the Java Community Process.
TCL extension library for IBM Speech Manager Applications Programming Interface (SMAPI) - http://sf.net/projects/tclsmapi/
The TCL/SMAPI enables the integration of IBM's Speech Manager Applications Programming Interface in Tcl applications.
JTOpen - http://sf.net/projects/jt400/
JTOpen is a library of Java classes used to interact with the IBM iSeries and AS/400 servers.
UDDI4J Java Class Library - http://sf.net/projects/uddi4j/
UDDI4J is a Java Class library used to interact with the Universal Description, Discovery and Integration registry.
Web Services Description Language for Java (WSDL4J) - http://sf.net/projects/wsdl4j/
WSDL4J is reference implementation for JSR110, allowing for the creation, manipulation and representation of WSDL documents.
IBM is easily one of the most storied patentees in the world, owning a portfolio of an estimated 40,000 patents and regularly taking in an estimated $1 billion in annual revenues for patent licensing. Earlier this year IBM released 500 of its patents, allowing free use for open source projects. As the list is far too extensive to recount in this article, a list of categories is instead summarized here, followed by a link to a PDF on IBM's site consisting of a complete list.
- Compression, Encryption, and Access Control
- Database and Data Handling
- Data Processing Programming
- Human Interfacing
- Human Language Processing
- Image Processing and Video Technology
- Internet, eCommerce, and Industry Specific
- Networking and Network Management
- Software Development and Object Technology
- Storage Management
View a complete list of available patents via the IBM website.
About the Author
W. Jason Gilmore (http://www.wjgilmore.com/) is the Open Source Editor for Apress (http://www.apress.com/). He's the author of Beginning PHP 5 and MySQL: Novice to Professional (Apress, 2004. 748pp.). His work has been featured within many of the computing industry's leading publications, including Linux Magazine, O'Reillynet, Devshed, Zend.com, and Webreview.